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Remorse, Penal Theory and Sentencing

By: Hannah Maslen
Media of Remorse, Penal Theory and Sentencing
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Published: 30-04-2015
Format: EPUB eBook (?)
Edition: 1st
Extent: 232
ISBN: 9781782258940
Imprint: Hart Publishing
RRP: £20.69
Online price : £16.55
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About Remorse, Penal Theory and Sentencing

This monograph addresses a contested but under-discussed question in the field of criminal sentencing: should an offender's remorse affect the sentence he or she receives? Answering this question involves tackling a series of others: is it possible to justify mitigation for remorse within a retributive sentencing framework? Precisely how should remorse enter into the sentencing equation? How should the mitigating weight of remorse interact with other aggravating and mitigating factors? Are there some offence or offender characteristics that preclude remorse-based mitigation? Remorse is recognised as a legitimate mitigating factor in many sentencing regimes around the world, with powerful effects on sentence severity. Although there has been some discussion of whether this practice can be justified within the literature on sentencing and penal theory, this monograph provides the first comprehensive and in-depth study of possible theoretical justifications. Whilst the emphasis here is on theoretical justification, the monograph also offers analysis of how normative conclusions would play out in the broader context of sentencing decisions and the guidance intended to structure them. The conclusions reached have relevance for sentencing systems around the world.

Table Of Contents

1. Remorse and its Relevance to Penal Theory Overview of the Book
Part I Retributive Arguments
2. The Changed Person Argument
3. The Reduced Harm Argument Criminal Harm and Wrongdoing
4. The Already Punished Argument
5. The Responsive Censure Argument
6. The Merciful Compassion Argument
Part II Remorse and Sentencing Practice
7. From Murder to Marijuana: A Nuanced Approach to Remorse-based Mitigation
8. The Remorseful Recidivist
9. Remorse in the Sentencing Guidelines
10. Implications for Penal Theory and Sentencing


“[R]etributive scholars will no doubt relish and debate Maslen's highly sophisticated contribution to theory […].” –  Justice David P. Cole, Ontario Court of Justice, Criminal Law Quarterly, 62

“[A] very readable which summarises theoretical writings in ways which are very engaging...It is like eaves-dropping at a conference of penal philosophers, with a glass of wine in your hand.” –  Nicola Padfield, The Cambridge Law Journal

Remorse, Penal Theory and Sentencing is a clearly structured, well-written and carefully argued examination of retributive arguments for why offender remorse should be treated as a mitigating factor in sentencing. It should serve as a necessary reference point in future discussions of remorse and sentencing.” –  Steven Tudor, La Trobe University, Journal of Applied Philosophy

“Having laid a convincing theoretical foundation for the justification of remorse as a mitigating factor for deserved censure, the second part of Maslen's monograph reads like a bucket of ice water in the face, as she shows the injustice of the current arbitrary, inconsistent, and often illogical consideration of remorse as mitigating factor in the sentencing practices of various jurisdictions.” –  Andra le Roux-Kemp, City University of Hong Kong, New Journal of European Criminal Law

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